Solution Manager – IBM BPM Integration.
For integrating SAP Solution Manager with IBM BPM you need IBM BPM V8.0 and Solution Manager 7.1 with Solution Composer add-on installed and necessary connection points configured.
Solution Manager Documentation
In Solution Manager Project the business processes are documented into a 3 level hierarchy namely Scenario, Business Process and Process Step. Scenario is a collection of related Business Processes which can be used to achieve any business objective like a Scenario – “Order to Cash” can contain Business Processes covering the order creation and maintenance to delivery and finally invoicing and collecting the receivables from the customer. Similarly the Business Processes are collection of steps the end user performs in or outside of the system to achieve any business need. A step is the last level of the hierarchy and it shows the action performed by the end user. Transactions or URLs which the end user uses to perform the steps can be assigned to Process Steps in the Solution Manager Project.
IBM BPM Documentation
IBM BPM provides a flexible way to document the business processes of any organization. A Process Application can be created in BPM which contains Business Process Definitions (BPD). In each of those BPDs the activities performed by the users are listed in a graphical way. For each BPD swim lanes can be created to list the activities in them. Human Lanes can be created if the activities are to be assigned to user / user groups and System Lanes can be created if the activities are to be grouped by the systems in which they are performed. Transactions, documents, attachments, links etc. can be added to these activities.
Mapping of Documentation Nodes
Once the necessary endpoints are configured in Solution Manager the Projects of Solution Manager can be imported to IBM BPM by providing the Solution Manager login and connection details. The figure below shows the one to one mapping of the elements between the two systems.
The Project in Solution Manager becomes a Process Application in IBM BPM. The Scenarios are converted to Tags. The Business Processes becomes the Business Process Definitions (BPD). The transactions, documents etc assigned to the Process Steps become the links, attachments and documentation in BPM.
A Process Application made in BPM cannot be directly imported to Solution Manager. That is a new project cannot be created by importing a Process Application from BPM. Similarly the Scenarios can also not be changed in BPM. Only the Business Processes and the Process Step level changes can be done in BPM and the updates can be synchronised back to Solution Manager.
While exporting the Project back to Solution Manager the following scenarios are possible.
- If a new BPD is added to the Process Application then a new Process will created in that Project in Solution Manager.
- If a Business Process or a Process Step is deleted in Solution Manager Project after the Project was transferred to BPM and if the corresponding BPD or Activity still exists in the Process Application then after the export the Business Process or Process Step will be created again.
- If simultaneous additions of Process Steps and Activities are done in the same Business Process then both will be retained after the export.
- If an activity is deleted in the Process Application then after the export the corresponding Process Step will also be deleted in the Business Process.
- The document added in Solution Manager Project are not copied to BPM only a link is provided. To edit the document one has to download it on the local machine so its not possible to update the document in Solution Manager via BPM.
Iterative and Interactive Process Blueprinting:
Instead of a traditional waterfall approach IBM BPM uses an iterative process by allowing playbacks while documenting. The business processes form the imported project or the SAP or IBM best practice library can be directly taken and a playback can be done at any level of maturity of the process. Thus all the stakeholders can directly participate in the blueprinting process and a get clarity onthe roles, process steps, flow, KPIs and reporting.
Guided Workflow for Process Execution
In a traditional SAP documentation approach the end users need to be trained to use the documentation created by the Process Designer using the general purpose or specialized modelling tools. The training time is often lengthy and even after the training some users do not follow the documented process.
Using the Guided Workflow feature of IBM BPM the end users can be trained to use any business process documented interactively. By running the Process in BPM the SAP Screens will be invoked as per the documented sequence. This reduces the training time as the documented process itself becomes the executable process. Also after the process is implemented all the end user have to follow the documented process thus reducing the process variants and brings consistency in the execution of process throughout the organization while providing real time insights into the business performance issues and opportunities.